Speaking Up for the Kardashians (crazy, I know)

It is a testament to the ubiquity of Kardashian Klan that my seventy-something father-in-law, who doesn’t watch television “because it’s shit,” has recently (and somewhat horrifyingly) emerged as an expert on Kim. And while I would rather stab myself repeatedly in the head with a dull fork than watch their show, there’s a shitton of Klan facts clotting up my brain. For one thing I know that they are called the Klan.

For another I know that matriarch Kris Jenner whores out her family relentlessly (literally, in the case of Kim’s exquisitely produced sex tape whose release spurned the Keeping Up With the Kardashians juggernaut); that Michael K at Dlisted has tagged her Pimp Mama K (PMK) and Satan’s Homegirl, labels that have caught fire across the inter webs; that her other nickname is “a source” in multitudinous TMZ and E! articles about the family. 

I know that Kim married some dude named Kris Humphries (dumping him immediately thereafter) seemingly solely to provoke the ratings bonanza that was their televised wedding.  

I know that she has since married Kanye West. 

Finally, I know that Khloe Kardashian was married to Lamar Odom (I don’t follow basketball, so this is the only way I know of him) and that he was struggling with an addiction that many seem to attribute to his involvement with the Klan. 

This is a family born for the side eye.

And yet, I find myself surprisingly inclined to defend them amidst the vitriol that Odom’s recent OD has unleashed. The moment commentators became aware that Khloe and Kris had gone to his Vegas hospital, folks seized their pitchforks. Apparently, it was impossible to believe that Lamar’s almost ex-wife and her mother might legitimately want to be by his bedside. Or that her older sister might later join them to show support. 

Accusations that they had taken cameras from KUWTK along with them to the hospital were soon disproven. And commentators even begrudgingly conceded that maybe the K Klan’s concern about Odom might be valid. However, they warned, only time will tell how genuine that concern might be: if the OD storyline is covered on the show, that will prove that PMK, Kim and Khloe really are just in it for the bucks!

Well, why wouldn’t/shouldn’t it be covered in the show? ::Ducks for cover::

There are those (many in this industry) who will say, look, Odom signed a release, he’s fair game. I won’t even go there. (I strongly question whether people truly understand what signing a release means when you are dealing with the likes of us, but that’s a conversation for another post). Rather, I need to point out that KUWTK is a Docu-Soap, and on a Docu-Soap the participants’ lives are the show. If this were about Jeff Probst and Survivor, we would not be having this conversation. His off-camera life would be irrelevant.

KUWTK, however, is about the K family, a family that is extremely present in both the tabloid and mainstream press. Odom isn’t some random guy who Khloe happens to have sunk her claws into; this is the woman’s almost ex-husband, and she happens to have the legal responsibility to determine his medical careSo, not covering the overdose would be glaring. 

How are they (the producers or the cast) supposed to continue shooting a show about this family without addressing the fact that the ex of one of them almost died? And, as much as you might hate the K Klan, surely you acknowledge that Khloe has the right to represent/discuss her own life. And if Odom doesn’t want to appear, or his family dislikes how he’s portrayed, a mere threat of a lawsuit generally convinces producers to remove offending material (just ask the cast and producers of Love and Hip Hop). 

Which doesn’t mean I think this is all kittens and rainbows. Do I think that producers will want this material covered because of the potential ratings boost? Of course. As individuals, they may or may not care for Odom (likely they do: it happens when you’re shooting with someone), but they will also want to include this kind of material because it benefits a show with declining numbers. PMK, in turn, is equally invested in seeing the material on the air, and for the same reason. But none of this proves or disproves that Khloe has genuine feeling for her ex. 

I can’t speak to the state of Khloe Kardashian’s soul. Or to whether Pimp Mama Kris has one. Either way, the scales won’t be tipped for me if his OD is included in the show. And I do think that covering a character forced to confront the potential death of a loved one, is something that, as a producer, I would want to do. And I believe (in this one instance!) that doing so is completely ethical. 

#kimkardashian #kuwtk #kardashians #khloekardashian #prayforlamarodom #lamarodom

3 thoughts on “Speaking Up for the Kardashians (crazy, I know)

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